Wednesday 12 October 2016 — Devils Punchbowl and Tices Meadow
This was a morning of ups and downs. The weather was damp and lowering when seven of us met at Milford. We took a vote on whether we sould go to the Punchbowl for Ring Ouzels or to Tices Meadow for Bearded Tits. Ring Ouzels won the vote but I did warn that there could be low cloud on the Punchbowl at nearly a thousand feet.
We drove up only to find that visibility was about 100 yards and it was cold. So we turned round and went down to Tices where it was warm and sunny. The water level was down so plenty of bare edges but we found no waders. There were plenty of Cormorants, Little Grebes and Great-crested Grebes, two male Shovelers and the usual gulls. We then started to search all the reed beds for Bearded Tits; six had been seen there the day before. After a short while we noticed movement in the densest reedbed and then one bird came up to the top and started feeding on the seeds. The light was not good and it was some distance away, about 50 yards and we could get no nearer because of a fence, but we could tell from the tawny colouring and black moustache that it was the bird we had come to find. Then four more came up and started feeding on the reed-heads and we had better views. After a short time they all flew off. We had seen Bearded Tits before at Farlington Marsh but had never dreamt of seeing them in inland Surrey.
We walked further along and watched a very statuesque Grey Heron at close quarters and then a party of about six Stonechats in some scrubby weeds. They were all very orange and appeared to be young ones in various plumages; one had a blackish head and a small white patch under the bill and was obviously a male but the others had varying amounts of orange; we thought at first they might be Whinchats but these would have left England by the end of September. Then a pair of Buzzards flew up from just in front of us and soared overhead.
The following day a Great White Egret was reported at Tices and the day after that two Great Grey Shrikes at Thursley Common, just one day earlier than their usual date of arrival.